Over here at Mix & Match, I pretty much eat, sleep, and dream e-design, but for most folks, the concept of working with a designer online is brand new and unfamiliar territory. I find that about 80% of the time (I haven't done a scientific study, but that's what it feels like!), when I talk to someone about what I do and how I work with clients, they say they've never heard of e-design and want to know more about how it works. I don't think I've ever covered this in depth on the blog, so today, I want to dive deep and talk about what e-design is (and isn't), and what it looks like to work with Mix & Match from a client perspective.
My goal is to give you some insights from a slightly different perspective than the one on my e-design information page. I'll add a little color and detail so that if you'd like to use the e-design method to design your next room, you'll know what to expect from the process!
(Note that every e-designer works a little bit differently. What I'm talking about today applies to how I run my processes and may not be universal across the board!)
Here are the topics we'll cover:
- The differences between e-design and full-service interior design
- What you, as a client, need to do to get ready to tackle your project
- How to initiate a project and get started
- What the design phase looks like
- What you'll receive from me, the designer, at the end of the project
The differences between e-design and full-service interior design
This is a big one! When most folks hear "interior designer" what comes to mind is the full-service model, so it's important to know that these services are different from one another.
In full-service interior design, the designer typically takes care of everything from start to finish. That means they come to your home to meet with you to discuss your project, take photos and measurements, create the design, purchase all the furniture and decor for you, and then install everything so you end up with a completed space once the project is finished. It's the white glove service of the interior design industry, if you will, and it tends to be luxury-focused.
With e-design, the process is different. Of course you still work with a designer who will put together a custom design just for your space, but you're a lot more involved on the front and back end parts of the project. In a typical e-design project, everything is done virtually rather than in-person. That means you measure your space, provide the photos and information about your project, purchase your furniture, and do the installation yourself. You can always hire a third party to do some of the installation aspects like hanging curtains, assembling furniture, etc., but the important thing to recognize is that designer isn't involved in that part. She provides the shopping list and the tools you need to bring the design to life, and allows you to take it from there.
Thanks to this online approach, e-design is usually much more affordable than full-service interior design. It's a fantastic service for folks who want the expertise of a designer and guidance on how to pull together a well-designed, beautiful room, but feel confident they can handle the other parts. Online interior design is fast, fun, and super collaborative!
What you, as a client, need to do to get ready to tackle your decorating project
Since you now know you have some work to do if you want to go the e-design route, what exactly should you do to prepare?
When you come to me to start a project, the first thing I have you do is fill out an informational survey to find out about your needs and wants for your project. To kick off the project on the right foot, and to help us be as efficient and effective as possible, I need the best answers you can give. The more detail you can provide, the better!
The ultimate goal is to create a space you love, so taking some time to think through your needs, wants, and dreams, and then communicating them well will make for a smooth and fun project.
Here are the general topics that my survey covers:
- Basic demographic/logistical information (where you live, if you're moving, how many people live in your home, your timeline, etc.)
- The room(s) you want to tackle
- Whether you're keeping any existing furniture/decor
- If you want to paint or add wallpaper
- What you're hoping to get out of working with a designer
- Your budget
- Your style
- Any other important information you'd like me to know
Once you fill out the survey, you'll send over room photos (from every angle!) and a floor plan with detailed measurements. Don't forget to include windows, doors, openings, and ceiling height, and note any important architectural features or quirks of the space. I'll digitize the floor plan and create a furniture plan based on those pieces of information, so be sure to double check them for accuracy!
The final, and very important part of the this stage of the e-design process is to pull together inspiration images of what you want your room to look like. Pictures are more powerful than words when it comes to describing your style! Using Pinterest to do this is a great way to find and share images. Create a new board for the room you're designing and Pin those pretty images to that board. Then you can easily share the link to that board with me to use as a guide as I'm working on your space. I'll refer back to it often to make sure I'm on track!
How to initiate a project and get started
This one is easy! If your project fits into the standard full room design package, you can simply follow the steps listed on this page. Once I have all of your information and payment, you'll receive an email from me with any follow up questions I have along with what to expect for the next steps.
If you have questions, or aren't sure your project fits into that standard full room design package, you can feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or use my contact page to get the ball rolling! I'm happy to create a custom package to suit your needs.
Once we virtually shake hands on working together and I have everything I need, we'll move into the fun part - the design phase!
What the design phase looks like in an e-design project
This is when I get to work! In my follow up email to you in the initial phase, I'll let you know the approximate turnaround time for when you can expect to see a first look at your room design. This is typically about one week, but may be slightly longer depending on my current project load.
When the design is ready, you'll receive an email alert that you can view it using my client portal. That portal is where we'll hang out and talk about the design! You'll be able to provide feedback, we'll both be able to share ideas, and I'll upload revised designs there too. It usually takes a couple of rounds to get the design finalized and your feedback helps me make sure we're on the right track.
The design comes in two forms: a "design board," which is a mockup of the furniture/decor in a room-like setup, and a floor plan, which is a to-scale bird's eye view of the furniture in your space. Taken together, the design board and floor plan give you a good visual for what the room will look like in real life.
Below, you can see an example of a design board and its floor plan.
What you'll receive from me, the designer, at the end of your project
Once we've finalized the design, I'll put together your shopping list! This includes the links to the products as well as ordering specifics like size, color, and finish. You'll always have access to this list in your client portal and you can shop at your own pace. If an item goes out of stock within 30 days of the list going live, I'm happy to find a replacement for you. Online inventory moves fast though, so I do recommend you purchase sooner rather than later!
In addition to the shopping list, if there are any specific instructions or details about the space, I'll share those with you at this time as well.
After you receive your shopping list, we're all finished!
I always love to see "after" photos of projects, so it brings me a ton of joy when clients send photos my way once they finish putting the room together! Since e-design happens online, I don't always get to see the end result, but it's awesome when I do!
So, what other questions do you have about e-design? I'd be more than happy to answer them! Maybe we'll start a little Q&A series over on Instagram stories if folks want to learn more!